Whisky “sleuths” working to protect Scotch against fakes

Around 70 court cases are being fought at any one time to tackle the scourge of fake whisky which threatens one of Scotland’s biggest export products, it has been revealed.

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL

The organisation met with Food Secretary Richard Lochhead and the Scotch Whisky Research Institute to discuss how fake whisky making can be stamped out.

Mr Lochhead said: “It was fascinating to hear that together, the Scotch Whisky Association and the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, can fight up to 70 court cases at one time to protect the industry against fakes. Every fake sold means one less bottle of genuine Scotch Whisky is purchased and it can have a detrimental impact on the reputation of the entire industry.

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“Scotch Whisky is iconic and in demand all over the globe and it is hugely important to the Scottish economy, enjoying protected status from the EU and an unmatched international reputation coming from the home of whisky.”

The industry contributes £3.3 billion in value each year to the Scottish economy and employs more than 10,000 people. In the last year alone six new distilleries opened up in Scotland, taking the total number of single malt distilleries across the country to 108. There are also about 30 distillery projects currently in the pipeline.

Last year, the industry celebrated a major legal success aimed at blocking the growing trade of fake brands in Australia, when Scotch whisky was registered as a certification trademark in the country.

SWA experts had identified 40 fake brands in Australia, where companies diluted Scotch with other spirits before passing it off as whisky, while others took cheap whiskies and add oak staves to make them taste older than they are.

It was also recently granted special protection in Burma.

Earlier this year, police uncovered around 70 litres of counterfeit whisky in a raid on an Edinburgh property.